A Kapolei couple is safe thanks in part to a Honolulu police officer and a Good Samaritan.
On Dec. 2, just before 4 a.m., a two-alarm fire was reported at a home on Alepa Street.
Fire officials say it was called in by a police officer on routine patrol.
Two people were inside at the time. Officials say they were alerted to the fire by an activated smoke alarm and the loud, crackling sound of flames.
Melissa Heilig says she and her husband, Robert, were sleeping at the time.
“I woke up to what sounded like somebody breaking into our house, and it was a crash and a bang,” Heilig said. “The only way I could describe it is, it sounded like hail was raining on top of the house, as if we were in a hail storm with golf-ball-sized hail.”
Heilig woke her husband up and “as soon as he opened the bedroom door, he turned to look and our whole living room was ablaze.”
The Heiligs say they made to their backyard through a sliding glass door on the side of their home. They were also able to grab their blue-and-gold macaw named Mopar.
“I was standing right over here just trying to get away from the smoke, and I left the sliding glass door open and smoke was just billowing out,” Heilig said.
They realized their fence gates were locked. Melissa Heilig couldn’t jump over the fence because she was holding Mopar, so her husband did and ran to the front.
“By the time I got around here, the cop was here and she was like, ‘Kick in the gate,'” Robert Heilig said. “I come out barefooted. I was like, ‘You got the shoes on, you kick it in.’ The conversation didn’t last but two seconds, but I thought it was kind of funny. I kicked in the gate barefooted anyway.”
Neighbors used garden hoses to fight the fire until firefighters arrived.
The fire was brought under control and fully extinguished by 4:30 a.m.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
“To my knowledge, it doesn’t seem like there is a for-sure cause,” Melissa Heilig said. “It definitely started in the corner of the lanai.”
HFD estimated the damage to the Heilig home to be around $50,000, but a more accurate estimate will be made by Monday.
Melissa Heilig says she owes a great deal to a Good Samaritan.
“He was trying to bang on everybody’s doors, screaming fire, and luckily there was also a cop patrolling in the area who was able to call for back up,” she said. “Somebody was watching over us at the right time and the right place.”
The Heiligs feel lucky to be alive, and are very grateful to the Good Samaritan. They hope he will come forward so they can thank him.
Melissa Heilig says she is also grateful to her neighbors, who graciously opened their homes to them.
“Somebody was watching over us at the right time and the right place,” she said. “Obviously I’m upset, but I’m not distraught. It could have been a lot worse. We could have lost the whole house.”
The Heiligs have already contacted their insurance agency and do plan to repair their home.